Consumers, providers, vendors, health 2.0 companies, public health, and others who are working to bring gov2.0 concepts to the health care industry.
Consumers and Health Care IT
December 11, 2012 at 2:34 pm #174415
Title: Improving Quality and Reducing Costs in Health Care: Engaging Consumers Using Electronic Tools
Engaging consumers more fully in their own health and health care not only improves the experience of care for patients and their families, it also improves the quality and cost-effectiveness of care. Research shows that more engaged patients have better outcomes in terms of both cost and quality, which is why consumer engagement is such an essential element of new delivery system and payment reforms now emerging to address the significant challenges facing the U.S. health care system. Online and electronic tools that play such key roles in many other aspects of American life—from how people manage their finances to how they shop for goods and services—can be leveraged to accelerate and support patient engagement efforts in health care.
Greater engagement of patients and their families supports better health system performance across all six attributes of high-performance in health care as identified by the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) in its January 2012 report titled Transforming Health Care: The Role of Health IT: organization-wide focus on the needs of the patient; strong organizational and clinical leadership; access to information to support efficient, coordinated care; timely access to care; emphasis on prevention, wellness, and healthy behaviors; and accountability, alignment of incentives, and payment reform.1
Patient-centered communication and engagement drive lower costs, better outcomes, and better patient experience in health care. Patients involved more closely in clinical decision-making report less pain and faster recovery, are more likely to adhere to medical recommendations, and carry out more health-related behavior change. Patient-centered communication and engagement are also associated with fewer diagnostic tests and referrals. Informed patients are less likely than other patients to choose elective surgery.
While patient-centered care and patient engagement are goals that are widely embraced by leaders across health care, more work must be done to integrate these concepts into the health care system.
Electronic tools boost consumer engagement by giving users easier access to patient education and self-care information, interactive self-monitoring and tracking tools, and online communities of peers. Electronic tools also help patients interact more effectively with the health care system, enabling them to access and download information from their electronic health records (EHRs), securely communicate with their providers from remote locations, and manage health care transactions online. Electronic tools have been shown to reduce costs, improve quality and improve the experience of care for patients, yet adoption of such tools among clinicians, hospitals, and other providers is not widespread.
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December 11, 2012 at 2:35 pm #174421
Bipartisan Policy Center Calls for Greater Use of Electronic Tools to Engage Patients and Drive Improvements in the Cost and Quality of Health Care
Washington, D.C.– Today the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) released a set of findings and recommendations for accelerating the use of online, mobile and other electronic tools to improve health and health care in the U.S. The latest report from BPC’s Health IT Initiative recognizes the critical role that patient engagement plays in reducing costs, increasing quality and improving a patient’s experience, and how the use of electronic tools can significantly expand and improve patient engagement efforts.
Research and experience shows that patient engagement and communication lower costs, improve health outcomes, and enhance patient experiences in health care. Electronic tools—such as secure electronic messaging between patients and their clinicians, in-home monitoring for patients with chronic conditions, and tools that enable patients to electronically access and download information contained in their medical records—can significantly expand and improve the effectiveness of traditional patient engagement activities. Despite the benefits of patient-facing electronic tools in improving the cost and quality of care, they have not been widely adopted.
To accelerate the adoption of electronic tools and increase and improve patient engagement in health and health care, BPC recommends that:
Public and private sector leaders take additional actions to build awareness of benefits of electronic tools to support patient engagement among clinicians, hospitals and other providers;
Principles, standards, policies, strategies, and best practices for using electronic tools to engage patients should be developed and widely disseminated;
Public and private sector leaders should build further awareness of the benefits of electronic tools among consumers; and
Federal, state and private sector payers should expand incentives for the use of electronic tools to support patient engagement in their health and health care.
“Patient-centered care and increased patient engagement are goals that are widely embraced by leaders across the health care system,” said Janet Marchibroda, chair of the BPC Health IT Initiative at today’s release. “Increasing the use of electronic tools, which are so prevalent in other aspects of American life, can significantly bolster patient engagement efforts across health care—resulting in lower costs, better outcomes, and improvements in the experience of care for patients and their families.”
The report titled, Improving Quality and Reducing Costs in Health Care: Engaging Consumers Using Electronic Tools, also explores the benefits of engaging consumers in their care, including the relationship between higher levels of patient engagement and better overall health system performance, how electronic tools can significantly boost consumer engagement, current adoption rates and the policies that affect their use, key barriers to adoption, and makes recommendations to improve quality and reduce costs by leveraging such tools.
December 11, 2012 at 2:37 pm #174418
Transforming Health Care: The Role of Health IT
Jan. 27, 2012
Despite the introduction of IT to nearly every other aspect of modern life, the U.S. health care system remains largely paper-based. The authorization of up to $30 billion to support health IT under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act of 2009 has spurred significant private sector investment to further increase the use of health IT.
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Most of these funds are for the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Programs, known informally as “Meaningful Use,” that reward clinicians and hospitals when they use EHRs in specific meaningful ways to improve care.
Studying the common attributes of the nation’s highest performing health care organizations can help shape public policy and investment decisions regarding health IT. The task force has identified six such attributes:
An organization-wide focus on the needs of the patient
Strong organizational and clinical leadership
Access to information to support efficient, coordinated care
Timely access to care
Emphasis on prevention, wellness and healthy behaviors
Accountability, alignment of incentives, and payment reform
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